Sometimes a painting can be slightly adjusted and suddenly take on a new meaning for the artist. For Prae Pupityastaporn, a Thai landscape painter whose work Presented by Nova Contemporary in Frieze Seoul Gallery in Bangkok, working alongside two similar paintings can illustrate the delicate balance between memory and the present moment. An image can change ever so slightly, and ever so profoundly.
Ms. Pupityastaporn’s admirers wanted to share his works with the world, and the Korean fair’s Focus Asia section, which will spotlight 10 artists from Asia, seemed a natural platform.
“Fridge Seoul is a new art fair, and Focus Asia is about bringing contemporary art to Seoul and reviewing and reflecting on the new environment of Asian contemporary art,” said Hyejong Jang, chief curator. Doosan Art Center in Seoul, a non-profit gallery that nurtures emerging Korean artists. “We tried to avoid the general view of what Westerners want to see in Asian art based on their Orientalist ideas.”
“We both agreed that Pry’s work is very beautiful, and some of his paintings fall somewhere between figurative and abstract,” Ms Zhang said. “The color palettes are very elegant and delicate. His brushstrokes are very delicate.”
Ms. Pupityastaporn decided to paint large diptychs in acrylic for Frieze Seoul — “Way to Remember” (two panels measuring about 7 feet by 8.3 feet each) and “Misplaced Memory” (each panel about 6.3 feet by 5 feet) — as recently as Nova Contemporary. A kind of extension of an idea about painting from memory during an exhibition. But he didn’t start with a specific theme for Freeze Seoul. Rather, he decided to simply let his works evolve and see where it took him.
“Normally, I don’t have a specific theme, but for my first solo show with Nova I started with two landscape paintings that were similar, but I deliberately wanted to make them work together as one landscape,” Ms. Pupitiastporn, 42, said recently. said in a video interview.
“For Frieze Seoul, I created several new paintings that can be a sequence and or imagined as one. ‘Way to Remember’ is a scene of leaves blowing in the wind. If you put two images together, they can be a scene. There is movement. . The wind blows this way and that, making small variations.”
Sutima Junko Sucharitakul, founder and director of Nova Contemporary, chose to show Ms. Pupityasporn’s work for Frieze Seoul because of the gallery’s devotion to focusing on female Asian artists — and her home, Thailand, as an emerging global art center.
“I think that an ecosystem for contemporary art in Thailand needs to be created, and I want to promote female artists,” Ms. Sucharitakul, 34, said in a recent phone interview. “Pra was one of the first artists we worked with. Many people see his work as more European, but we want to present our artists as international, not just associated with one country. Female artists are underrepresented in Thailand.
Ms. Sucharitakul said she had great respect for Ms. Pupityastaporn’s work, mostly because she blended classic European art training — Ms. Pupityastaporn studied in Germany for many years — but also incorporated her Asian roots. His images of native plants and rock formations emerging from the ocean come to mind.
Exhibited his works in a group show titled Nova Contemporary “The Last Word” at the ROH Gallery in Jakarta, Indonesia at the end of 2021, but this will be her first solo presentation outside of Thailand since she had two small solo exhibitions in Germany during her master’s degree. In November 2019 and August 2022 Ms. Pupitiastporn had two solo presentations at Nova, and she had a group show in May 2022.
“By focusing on paired works and diptychs, Pry reveals how subjective memory can be,” said Ms. Sucharitakul. “The paintings look almost identical at first, but there are subtle differences. When we think back to a vacation everyone has an image of the beach or the sky or the moon. Sometimes, these change every time we remember.”
Miss. Pupitiastporn often painted in his studio in Bangkok after visiting a favorite Thai beach, so that vague memory defines some of his diptychs. It’s part of that organic process of letting her paintings evolve together.
“When I finish everything, I put together a show, because the most important process for me is to work,” he said. “Usually, people have an idea for a show, or at least which images will be more specific to a show, but I try to make it more natural. I think it’s important for an artist to have their signature and know what that is.”